Travels

Germany to Netherlands, and a return to Maassluis.

Sunday 14 October. Three hundred miles of improving road and I’m back in Maassluis,

my base in July to visit Rotterdam, Delft, get a Donald Sutherland haircut and have my bike fixed. And it feels as hot today as it was in July.

As the container ships pass along the canal before Big Al,

and this stout little tug drags a huge crane to a new mooring, he’s looking forward to a little down time. He’s been a star and has not let me down. He’s got a full service coming up and he’s earned it.

The first hundred miles of German road tested him and me today. Rolling a big hollow box over concrete road creates a lot of noise. Add to that the road is laid in strips across the highway, and it was like driving a train, the clickety-clack reverberating through the steering wheel. It was the same when I drove through to Denmark; I expected racing track quality road in Germany but it was always better outside the country.

This time tomorrow I shall be queuing to board the ferry. Time to reflect? No, there’s too much to keep me looking forward. Catching up with family and friends, getting book two redrafted and edited (which I thought I’d have done while away but this blog took over), getting covers and websites redesigned, writing book three and, of course, planning the next trip. Assuming that, with the Brexit fiasco, there can be a next trip.

How much will European travel insurance and breakdown cover cost without the EHIC and other reciprocal arrangements? Will there be more requirements regarding vehicle documentation? Will credit card use and bank account access be straightforward? Will mobile roaming be seamless and included in the contract? Being part of the EU offers endless benefits when travelling and no down side.

And if anyone is delusional enough to think that the EU bloc will miss a scruffy, small-minded island on its periphery, which it now regards with bemused pity, then they should take a closer look at the quality of life enjoyed over here. If the UK leaves, it will barely ripple the waters for most people over here, except as they expand their industrial and commercial areas to accommodate all the business and jobs that move to the mainland, giving them an even better quality of life. Sorry to end on a rant. So I won’t.

On several occasions, people have assumed I’m Dutch. The Dutch have yellow rear number plates and speak excellent English. For example, a woman running a site in Norway, who I’d been chatting to for quite a few minutes and had asked about using her laundry, was most disappointed when she pronounced the Dutch word for clothes horse, which she’d learned from a couple who’d stayed, and I didn’t understand. She thought she was pronouncing it badly. She’d already written my nationality as Dutch in her paperwork and it was only when my credit card prompted English text that she realised I was British, and we each understood our confusion. She’d had very few British stay and hadn’t registered the number plate colour. With Brexit making a laughing stock of the country, I’ve always felt a little embarrassed admitting I’m British, but if more Brits experienced moving around Europe and saw how people live, then Europeans wouldn’t be ‘them’, they’d be ‘us’.

If Brexit does go TU, I wonder if I can ‘become’ Dutch? There’s an idea, I think I could fit into Maassluis. That is if I can’t get asylum in Denmark and live in Århus. Or anywhere in Belgium, or…

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